Friday Writing Experiment No. 31: Get Thee To A Library


I remember the sweet musty air of the mobile library. It came to the Caledonia every second Saturday morning, and parked itself on Mousehall Farm Road.

I remember Comet in Moominland, Little House in the Big Woods, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIHM.

I remember the high windows of Hull’s Brynmor Jones Library, the recently opened Humber Bridge in the distance.

I remember how we often found Allen’s Ginsberg’s own books on the shelves of the Allen Ginsberg Library at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa. A Tibetan swingseat on the porch, tall flags fluttering on blue and red and yellow on the green, mountains through a narrow window.

I remember the University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library, and the long wooden tables, and the glow of low lamplight. I remember the murals, I remember the fountain at the duck pond, and I remember the fountain in the little courtyard right out of Rappaccini’s Daughter.

I remember Madeline Miller talking about The Song of Achilles at Twickenham Library a couple of days after she won the Orange Prize –  some foresight on the part of local library services. She was totally charming, wholly intelligent, and very entertaining.

I remember the carved panels of the heavy wooden doors of Sydney’s Mitchell Library, telling tales of Aboriginal history.

I remember a tarot reading in the cafe of the British Library.


I could go on, and I shall at my leisure, but now it’s your turn: write an ‘I Remember’ about the libraries you have known.

If you want to take this further: you could place a limit on how long you remember libraries, and then stop and look back over your collection. Choose one of these libraries, and then write about an encounter within that hallowed place, real-life or fictional, or a bit of both.

(With full credit to Joe Brainard’s brilliant and inspirational ‘I Remember’.)

A Conversation With Ray Bradbury

I’m (finally) tidying/unpacking/autmun-cleaning my study (a year after moving in), and of course turn to the Web to find something to listen to while I dust and shelve and shuffle one pile from here to there, and da da, via another link (thanks, Patsy! a great clip from Kurt Vonnegut on how to write a short story), I came across this fabulous and inspirational short film by Lawrence Bridges in which Ray Bradbury, the man who’s perhaps the greatest teacher of all, and almost certainly the loveliest and most enthusiastic, talks about his inspirations: fantasy and dinosaurs and Steinbeck and Dickens, and how libraries fulfil you, and most of all how you must place Love at the centre of your universe:

The things that you do should be things that you love, and things that you love should be things that you do.

Love again as a spur.


PS he was a famous non-driver, too. I collect these: Ray Bradbury, Allen Ginsberg, Ricky Gervais, David Attenborough, Nigel Slater, Albert Einstein. I’m in good company. Oh well, can’t be helped.